Monrovia – Mr. Tsutomu Himeno, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Liberia, has told Mr. Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, that his Government is committed to working with the Liberian Government.
The Japanese Ambassador accredited to Liberia made the disclosure Monday, February 26, when he paid a courtesy visit on the Foreign Minister.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, the Ambassador informed Foreign Minister Findley that he and the special delegate sent by the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, had attended the inaugural ceremony of Mr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia on January 22.
He stated that his Prime Minister had sent a congratulatory message to President Weah on his inauguration on behalf of the Government and people of Japan followed by the Foreign Minister of Japan, who also sent message of congratulations, too, to the Liberian leader.
Ambassador Himeno informed Minister Findley that his government is pleased to share the same fundamental values of democracy that Liberia embodies toward world peace.
On aid to Liberia from his country, he stated: “We can't do all. What we can do is based on your priorities which we would like to build on and strengthen the existing relationship between our two nations.”
Further in his discussion, he acquainted Mr. Findley with what his government has been doing in Liberia since 2008 beginning with a 364 million Japanese Yen grant for the rehabilitation of Liberia-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital at the JFK Medical Center in Sinkor.
From 2008 to 2017, the Japanese Embassy has implemented several projects in the tune of several millions of United States dollars. One of such projects is the reconstruction of the Somalia Drive, which phase two is shortly to begin.
“We are going to review our strategies base on your priorities, Mr. Minister. We are here to work and cooperate with your government,” Ambassador Himeno further stated.
He informed the Foreign Minister that the Japanese construction company reconstructing the Somalia Drive is pleased with the handiworks of their Liberian counterpart helping with the construction works and so during the second phase they (Liberian contractors) will take the lead while their Japanese colleagues will just play a supervisory role.
His disclosure was in response to a statement from Foreign Minister Findley that one of the drives of the “pro-poor policy” is for Liberians to take ownership of whatever projects that are being undertaken by its partners.
Responding, the Dean of the President’s Cabinet, Minister Findley, thanked the people and government of Japan for the assistance they are giving to Liberia.
He told the Japanese Ambassador that the Liberian Government, led by President Weah, is focused on reducing poverty, Liberians taking ownership of those foreign projects and the connection and construction of roads throughout the entire nation.
“We want to open up the country and put industries all over the country where our young people can be trained to meet the future.”
“We also need investments, including factories that will employ these trained young Liberians. There would no need of training them, when we can’t find jobs for them.”
Foreign Minister Findley also told him that as the relationship between Liberia and Japan gets strengthened and more Japanese nationals begin coming to Liberia, it would be good for the Japanese to open their embassy near Monrovia.
He stressed to the Ambassador that his government looks forward to more investors coming from Japan to invest in Liberia especially in the Fishery sector, which is now being regulated by the Bureau of Fishery.
Minister Findley then informed Ambassador Himeno that while Liberia looks forward to more cooperation with the Japanese Government in the long term, the government is now in dire need of short-term aid.